I was never much interested in canting keel boats ... only because I like to sail shorthanded and did not like the complexity of them. BUT... I have been through a lot of the performance PHRF and One off type boats but still want more speed. I am a mono hull guy but recently have come to like the speed and simplicity of the multi hulls. As an alternative and because I cant give up on speed, I have been looking at the designs of the earlier canting keel production or semi production boats. Am I wrong or were boats like the Farr 11s and Schock 40 way ahead of their time and could see a re-interest among the local sailing crowd ?
I think you are right in that canting keel (ballast) boats may come back into favour and maybe even production for everyday sailors. They are just too damned efficient.Tom Schock was way ahead of his time in adopting the Dan Yachts concept for a production 40 footer. Its potential was seriously hurt when the strut fell off one of the boats following a hard ground and lack of follow up inspection. Nevertheless, the Schock 40 led the way and now,16 years later, almost every offshore monohull (Volvo, Vendee, super maxi etc.) has a canting keel.
I have a Schock 40 and have raced Schock boats (35 and 40) for the last 18 years on the Great Lakes where boats get a special pounding from the steep, short waves there. Nothing significant has ever broken. (I can't say quite the same about the J Boats around me who have had their share of problems.) I am always amused when the SA Schock haters, like Great Red Shark, jump in on every thread to bash Tom Schock's efforts.
I have been racing the Schock 40 almost exclusively shorthanded (and singlehanded!) the last few years. It is absolutely the perfect shorthanded boat once you get comfortable getting the big chute down without putting it in the water. I am not convinced yet that a top down furler is going to be reliable furling a free flying sail, but we shall see.
In terms of maintenance, I had the seals, bearings and bushings replaced after 12 seasons. That is not so bad. The hydraulics and ram are basically "Caterplllar" off the shelf. The system seems bulletproof, and capable of running endlessly. If you think about it, the workload of the ram on a sailboat is nothing compared to one on a backhoe digging all day long.
MKF nailed the battery situation. There is something about the 6 V batteries that keep on working even when they should have nothing left. I have done up to four days offshore and the keel never stopped working. I don't know how long it could have gone. You can always re-charge with a portable generator or rig the outboard to charge a pair of 6V at a time.
I note that J Boats has finally acknowledged shorthanded sailing (5 people in their view) with the 121. They have chosen water ballast which is nowhere near as efficient or nimble in my view. It also seems like just another significant winterizing issue from a northern perspective.
The bottom line is the rest of the fleet will just disappear behind a lightweight canting ballast boat off the wind. There is just a whole lot of fun in that concept!